I used to be mad at blackberries. In the backyard of the house that I previously lived in, I spent a good deal of time trying to fight the blackberry bushes. I would get my battle gear on and attack the bushes with large shears every few months. I’d always work up a good sweat and end up with a bunch of scratch wounds. On top of the constant struggle to keep the bushes from overtaking my backyard, we rarely got to any of the ripe berries before the birds did. I was not fond of the blackberry.
But then I moved into a house with a blackberry bush growing on the outside of my fence in the backyard, into the alley. No need to fight this one! I have let it grow and grow and grow and the blackberries are just starting to get ripe. There are so many of them that I think I’ll be eating blackberries all summer and fall! Blackberries have become my friend.
I was very excited to pick my first batch of berries, but soon after I filled the bowl, I was unsure of what do with them. They were a little too tart (for my liking) to eat raw, but I couldn’t think of something yummy to bake them into. So I posted an inquiry to my Facebook friends, asking for their help. I had many suggestions come my way… cereal, syrup, jam, raw… but Katy got me salivating at the suggestion of PIE. Pie! Perfect use of the first of the blackberries!
I was going to a picnic the next day, so I decided to make individual pies instead of one big one. They turned out adorable and delicious! The crust was amazingly flaky and the filling was a perfect combination of sweet and tart. I based these recipes on ones I found in the “Joy of Cooking.” This recipe makes 4 mini pies, but can be modified to make one regular size pie. Also, this pie could very easily be made vegan by substituting non-hydrogenated vegetable shortening for the butter in the crust!
P.S. Pretty darn good with lime ice cream!
For the Crust:
- 2 1/2 cups flour
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup cold unsalted butter
- 1/3-1/2 cup ice cold water
- 4 mini pie tins
- Cookie cutters (optional)
To Make the Crusts:
- Stir the flour, sugar and salt together in a large bowl, set aside.
- Cut the butter into small chunks and add to to the bowl of dry ingredients.
- Cut the butter into the dry ingredients with a pastry cutter or two knives until it resembles crumbs with a few pea-sized pieces of butter still remaining.
- Slowly add up to 1/3 of the water while stirring vigorously.
- If the dough has not come together into a ball, continue adding water, a tablespoon at a time, until it does.
- Form the dough into a ball and separate into two equal halves.
- Wrap the dough halves in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
- Remove one half of the dough from the refrigerator and roll it out onto a floured counter top.
- Cut the dough into four rounds, using one of the pie tins to gauge the appropriate size.
- Fit the dough rounds into each pie tin with only a small lip around the edge.
- Place dough filled tins in the refrigerator.
- Remove the other half of the dough and roll out onto floured counter top.
- Cut rounds just as you did for the other half.
- Place rounds on a cookie sheet or cutting board and put in refrigerator.
- If you want to cut out shapes for decoration, form remaining dough scraps into a ball and roll out.
- Cut desired shapes with a knife or cookie cutter, set aside.
For the Filling:
- 3 cups blackberries
- 1 cup sugar
- 3 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1 tablespoon fresh squeezed lime juice
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
To Make the Filling:
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
- Stir the sugar, cornstarch, lime juice and salt together in a medium bowl.
- Stir in the blackberries until well coated by the mixture.
- Let stand for 15 minutes.
- Fill the bottom crusts with equal portions of the berry filling.
- Brush the rim of the crust with cold water.
- Place the top crusts over the pies and seal the edges of the two crusts together by pinching them.
- Cut 5 slits in the top of each crust.
- Adhere crust cut-outs (if used) to the top of the pies with cold water.
- Place the pies on a baking sheet and bake at 425 degrees for 20 minutes.
- Reduce the temperature to 350 degrees and continue cooking for 10-15 minutes, or until the juices start bubbling out the top of the pies.
- Cool on a rack for at least 1 hour.